Whether you’re a middle-aged thrill seeker or a senior that has trouble walking up the stairs, as you age through life, you likely become more aware that your body isn’t as durable as it once was. Bruises that used to fade within a couple of days can last for weeks and appear much more quickly than they used to.
Also, as you age, your bones become more brittle. Falling off of a bike as a ten-year-old is often no big deal, but as a middle-aged person or a senior, such a fall is no joke.
It’s not always wise to swear off physical activities that bring you enjoyment — like biking or hiking. Injuries can happen in our home, from a slip in the shower to falling down the stairs. The good news is, there are some ways you can prevent injuries as you age.
Staying fit is essential to preventing injury, especially for people over the age of 40. As you age, it becomes more difficult to maintain muscle mass, so it’s imperative that you continue to exercise to keep your body strong and resilient. Consider exercises that focus on strength training, flexibility, and balance.
Warm Up Before Physical Activity
If you are still staying active and enjoy playing sports, exercising, or engaging in other physical activities, as you age the need to warm up your body becomes more apparent. Warming prepares the body for physical exertion by increasing your heart rate and increasing blood flow to your muscles. This is a great way to prevent injury while exercising, playing sports, or doing any other physical activity.
After you warm up, your muscles will become more flexible and it will make stretching easier. Stretching will prepare your body for the exercise and prevent injury to your muscles, tendons, and joints.
If you’re going on a run or a walk, start off slow and gradually increase your speed until you’re at a comfortable pace. The same goes for other forms of exercise and physical therapy. This will prevent you from over-exerting yourself and sustaining any injury.
Cooling down after your exercise will help prevent sore muscles and bring your body back to its natural resting state. Cool down with some light cardiovascular exercise and some stretching.
If you’re the type of person who likes to stay active 7 days a week, consider choosing one day to rest and recover. Resting will prevent you from overworking your body and will help to prevent injury while maximizing gains.
A good diet is a great way to prevent injury. Try replacing processed foods with whole foods and cutting down on your sugar intake. Pay attention to your protein and nutrient intake. A healthy diet will make your body stronger and more resilient, while a poor diet may contribute to muscle weakness.
Also, make sure to stay hydrated. A healthy body needs plenty of water and electrolytes to stay healthy and resilient. So whenever you engage in physical activity, make sure to bring enough water.
Check In With Your Body
If you have any chronic pain or physical problems, it’s best to get it checked out early. Sometimes, chronic pain in our body may be caused by an injury elsewhere. An early diagnosis and treatment are always the most effective, so check in with your body to make sure you aren’t ignoring any warning signs.
While we don’t want to recommend that anybody completely abandon their favorite hobbies, if you are someone who engages in dangerous activities, such as rock climbing, mountain biking, or downhill skiing, as you get older, it’s wise to scale back for injury prevention. Rather than challenging yourself and taking big risks, consider taking a more leisurely approach.
To learn more about preventing injuries as you age, contact your physical therapist at ProFizix in Los Angeles at 310-742-2230.